Love in Lockdown – Unmarried Couples Living Together 

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Unmarried Couples Living Together

The national lockdowns have prevented us from socialising with our loved ones and friends, many unmarried couples decided to take the plunge and move in together to avoid potentially spending months apart. When unmarried couples move in together, they need to consider the legal aspects. 

With Valentine’s Day this weekend why not show your partner you love them by protecting their future?  

In this article, our Family Law Solicitor, Noelle Heath shares her legal advice for unmarried couples living together and how to protect yourselves for the future covering everything from cohabitation agreements to updating your will. 

Legal Advice for Unmarried Couples Living Together

Below we answer the top 5 questions regarding unmarried couples living together:  

  1.  What key legal considerations should unmarried couples think about when moving in together? One legal consideration unmarried couples should think about when moving in together is recording their of cohabitation formally in a Cohabitation Agreement. This is a legally drafted document, which sets out details as to who is to pay for what e.g. mortgage and bills. Another legal consideration to take into account is writing or updating your will if you wish to provide for your partner if you pass away. 
  2. How do unmarried couples’ rights differ from married couples? Does this change after a certain amount of time living together? The rights of unmarried couples differ from married couples because they do not acquire legal rights to have an interest in the property or assets of the other just by living together. It doesn’t matter how long an unmarried couple have lived together they won’t acquire legal rights. For example, if the home they live in is registered in the sole name of one partner then the other doesn’t acquire any legal interest in it by living there and contributing to the mortgage and utilities. 
  3. What is a cohabitation agreement and how can it protect unmarried couples living together? A cohabitation agreement is a legally drafted document for unmarried couples living together. It considers the arrangement of personal affairs e.g. ownership of the property, personal belongings and savings etc. It is a form of protection if the relationship breaks down or if your partner passes away, it outlines how assets should be divided and can reduce some of the emotional strain. For more information, please read our article, what is a cohabitation agreement and why do I need one?
  4. Should unmarried couples moving in together think about making or updating their wills? There is no such thing as ‘Common-law marriage’ for unmarried couples living together no matter how long they have lived together so, if you wish to provide for your partner then you should make or update your will. 
  5. What top legal tips would you give to unmarried couples living together? Here are our top 3 legal tips for unmarried couples living together; 1) Discuss the basis of your cohabitation openly and honestly before you live together so neither of you are in the dark about what might happen if you separate. 2) Decide in advance who is to contribute to the living costs and in what proportion and what would happen to any joint purchases if you separate. 3) Consider a formal cohabitation agreement

* These questions were answered on 11th February 2021 as part of the Law Society‘s Solicitor Chat on Twitter.

Expert Legal Advice for Cohabitating Couples

Our specialist Family Law Solicitors strongly advise you have your legal affairs in order to protect you in the unfortunate event your relationship breakdown. It can save you time, money and stress in the future.   

If you require clear and honest legal advice or to have a Cohabitation Agreement drawn up, please contact us on 033 3344 9600 or simply email [email protected] with your request.  

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